Archive for May 2013

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake

Sunday, 26 May 2013

What do you bake for a super healthy, gluten intolerant, carb hating, law student's birthday?

.... Okay, I lie, this cake is not really healthy... But we can just pretend. It is gluten free though. And I pretended it was sugar free as well (it's not, though you can substitute sugar for Stevia, or whatever other sweeteners of your choosing (: ), so that Brooke could eat this cake! She does love chocolate though, which I felt justified this a bit. And I used dark chocolate... Which is healthier.

In summary, this cake is pretending to be healthy, while only cutting out one food group, (is gluten a food group..?) and still tastes absolutely delicious. It's rich and chocolatey, and so, so good that I didn't even eat it with ice cream, which as you know, is a fabulous thing! Happy Birthday Brookey! <3

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake
·         300g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
·         200g butter, chopped
·         1 cup almond meal
·         5 eggs, separated
·         1/3 cup and ¼ cup sugar
·         1/4 cup milk
·         Cocoa powder, to dust

Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 20cm spring form cake tin and line with baking paper.

Gather your ingredients.

Set a bowl over a pan with simmering water, and melt the butter and chocolate, stirring regularly. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. When it is melted remove from the heat. (Alternatively I think this can also be done in the microwave!)

Meanwhile, whip the egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form and texture is smooth and glossy. 

Mix the remaining sugar, egg yolks and milk together.

Pour the chocolate mixture gently into the egg yolk mixture.

Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture gently into the egg yolk mixture, and then repeat with the remaining whites. 

Pour carefully into the prepared tin.

Bake for 40 minutes without opening the oven, then turn the pan around and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Cool and dust with cocoa powder. Serve with fresh raspberries and cream, or drizzled with melted chocolate. 

I made a little flag by sticking a sticker onto a toothpick, then sandwiching it with another sticker. Pretty cute, don't you think?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Also, I have now fixed the comments, which people have been emailing me about (thanks!). You can now comment without having a Google+ account! And of course, those of you with G+ accounts can still comment. Unfortunately though, previous G+ comments have now been removed from the blog - but still accessible through G+. 

 xx gee


Funfetti Cake with Dulce Du Leche and Dark Chocolate Caramel Marscapone Icing

Monday, 20 May 2013

Last week was a bit of a cakey weekend. Two of my friends celebrated their 23rd birthdays last Friday, so I have two cake posts to do.

This was Isy's cake. I asked her what kind she would like and she said it was up to me! So I decided to make a funfetti cake, because they make me happy. I don't usually make chocolate cakes (or chocolate anything really) because I'm not the biggest chocolate fan, but we have so much in the pantry. And yes, I'm using up my dulce du leche... so sue me! ;) This was a light and fluffy butter cake but with an intense, dark chocolate icing and just hints of caramel. I thought about making it salted caramel, but thought it might be a bit much. It was perfect the way it is!

Funfetti Butter Cake

  • 250g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan forced. Grease two 6 cm cake pans and line with baking paper. Beat the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well until incorporated. Stir in half the flour until combined, then half the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk. Mix in the rainbow sprinkles and then pour into into prepared pans.

Dark Chocolate Caramel Marscapone Icing

  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 200 g marscapone cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
Beat the cream until stiff peaks form - be really careful to not overbeat! In a separate bowl, whisk the marscapone, melted chocolate and icing sugar until smooth. Fold the chocolate marscapone mixture into the cream, and ice the cake.

I only had these pictures from my phone of the cut cake and Isabel's celebrations at uni. 

For some reason the top two layers were much more caramelly! Although I smeared equal amounts of chocolate marscapone icing and dulce du leche. Strange! The sprinkles were so pretty when it was cut!

 Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! xxx gee


Dulce Du Leche Walnut Tarts

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dulce du leche is one of my favorite things ever. I put it on everything. Fruit. Muesli. Ice cream. In chocolate smoothies. I eat it out of the jar. I salt it and pretend its gourmet. I am just obsessed. I love how simple it is to make, and how delicious it is.

I made this batch in the pressure cooker, and it took less than ten minutes. (plus cooling time) I didn't take any progress shots, but basically I removed the label from a can of condensed milk, put it sideways into the steamer basket attachment of my pressure cooker, filled up the pot, and heated it for 10 minutes. When it started making the hissing, steamy noise, I turned it off, let it sit overnight to cool down, and then removed the can of perfect, easy peasy, dulce du leche. 

Much easier than watching it carefully boil for 3 hours and making sure the water levels didn't drop too low. I highly recommend this method!

I found these at Coles. They were sitting right by the counter on a trolley with other random bits and bobs, and I normally wouldn't have looked at them, but I was waiting for Milo to grab some potatoes. And I just spotted them. 

I bought them. (The use by date was tomorrow)
And made these delicious dulce du leche walnut tarts.

Dulce du leche is great all on its own, of course. 
But it's even better baked. It warm firm with a very light crust on the top, and the insides were gooey and wam, and just heaven. And the store-bought pastry shells weren't bad either! Easiest dessert ever. I had originally planned to make mini pecan tarts with these shells, but we didn't have any, and when I went to buy some they didn't have any either! So I decided to use walnuts instead. 

Fill the cases with dulce du leche. Be very generous, because it's delicious.

Top with walnuts. I only put three on for the purposes of prettiness and symmetry, but the more the merrier!

Look at that caramel!

Fresh out of the oven, golden brown and beautiful.

We ate it with ice cream. And it was really, really good.
Look at that gooey caramel! Yum!

Dulce Du Leche Walnut Tarts
Serves 6

  • 6 pastry shells (alternatively you could make your own with shortcrust or puff pastry)
  • 1 cup dulce du leche 
  • 18 walnut halves (or more if you prefer!)
  • icing sugar, to dust
Fill the pastry shells with dulce du leche. Top with walnuts. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and the dulce du leche has puffed up a bit. Dust with icing sugar and top immediately.

xx gee


Living Below the Line: Day 5

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Yesterday was the last day of the challenge!
It's been such a learning experience. It definitely wasn't as bad as expected, because everything was planned out so carefully - from grocery shopping to meal plans to figuring out the ingredient costs of each meal. The hardest thing (as I've mentioned) is the strict adherence with not much flexibility to the menu, the set amount of tea, and fruit, and other little snacks, we are allowed to have each day. and the difficulty in packing lunch and sometimes dinner to work and uni without fridge or microwaving facilities.

That said though, we have spent less than $10 this week, and had the luxuries of tea everyday, Milo managed to have some instant coffee on our cheaper days, even dessert, and Tori had a hot chocolate! We still have food leftover as well - about 400g pasta, 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of oats, 1 packet of 2 minute noodles, and 2 potatoes from our initial shop. I think that's pretty amazing, especially considering how well we ate.

Breakfast 6 c
- ¼ cup oats 5 c
- 1 tsp honey 1 c

Lunch 62 c
- 1 egg 26 c
- 2 slices bread 18 c
- 1/2 cucumber 5 c
- 1 slice cheese 13 c

(not the best photo!)

Dinner 26 c

Dahl with Rice 80 c
Serves 3
- 1/2 cup rice 12 c
- 1 cup lentils 20 c
- 1/2 cup mixed vegetables 40 c
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder 5 c
- 1 tsp butter 3 c

Boil the lentils in 1 cup of water, drain and rinse. Put the lentils back into the saucepan, and add the mixed vegetables, curry powder and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, adding water if it looks dry. Serve with rice.

This was admittedly not the best dahl in the world, but it was pretty good considering the lack of ingredients used in this. I could have used more spices, and some garlic and onion, and tinned tomatoes, and even coconut milk.. But to be honest I was just lazy about counting the costs of everything. I don't think 1/2 cup of mixed veggies cost 40 c, because a 1 kg bag cost 95 c, but I had somehow calculated that 1/4 cup of mixed veggies was 20 c from my first post, so I just doubled it. Oh well, over estimation is better than underestimation in this case.

Breakfast 6 c
Lunch 62 c
Dinner 26 c
Orange 25 c
Tea 5 c
        = $1.14

And here is a handy table for my food for the week.

Live Beyond the Line Meal Plan for $2 a Day
Oats & Honey
Oats, Honey & Cinnamon
Oats & Honey
Oats, Honey & Cinnamon
Oats & Honey
Fried Rice  w/ Mixed Vegetables, Sausage and Egg
Chawanmushi (Japanese Egg Custard) w/ Mixed Vegetables and Sausage
Leftover Quiche, Capsicum, Cucumber and Tomatoes 74c
Tuna Pasta Salad w/ Carrot, Rocket and Egg

Egg, Cucumber and Cheese Sandwich
Pumpkin & Potato Soup
Pumpkin, Tuna and Rosemary Quiche 64 c
Potato Soufflé w/ Bolognaise
Two Minute Noodles & a Fried Egg
Dahl (Lentil Curry) & Rice
Banana Oat Cookies x 2

Cinnamon Rice Pudding
13 c
Orange 25c

Apple 25c
Orange 25c
Tea 10c
Tea 5c
Tea 5c
Tea 5c
Tea 5c

And a photo of the food we bought:

For most days, we were under budget, which proves that eating for less than $2 a day is possible and can be filling, nutritious and yummy! We did miss treats, but all in all it was a great experience and all for a very good cause! 
Donations are still open - sponsor me at, or you can sponsor poor Milo, who went to the gym and worked nights without coffee at
Our team profile is at, where you can sponsor Tori and Sharon as well!

Thanks so much to everyone who has sponsored us already + given us encouragement! :) xxx

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Living Below the Line: Day 4

Friday, 10 May 2013

I had a tricky day because I was out all day with contentious refrigeration and microwaving facilities. Luckily it all worked out pretty well in the end, and I was content at the end. I definitely think the worst thing about this is how strictly planned all my meals have to be, and I really like eating whatever I feel like. That said, this challenge has really opened my eyes, and I found myself forcing my family, who is eating normally, to finish up all their food instead of throwing out whatever they don't eat.

Breakfast 6 c
-          ¼ cup oats 5 c
-          1 tsp cinnamon sugar 1 c

Lunch 72 c

Tuna Pasta Salad $1.44
Serves 2
-          250 g pasta, cooked 17 c
-          200 g tuna 50 c
-          2 eggs, hard boiled and sliced 52 c
-          1/2 carrot, grated 15 c
-          Small handful rocket, shredded 7 c
-          Salt and pepper 3 c

Mix the pasta, tuna, carrot, rocket, salt and pepper together and then top with the sliced eggs.

Dinner 47 c
-          Two minute noodles 21 c
-          1 egg 26 c

Breakfast 6 c 
Lunch 72 c 
Dinner 47 c 
Apple 25 c
Tea 5 c

             = $1.55

xx gee 

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Living Below the Line: Day 3

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

I haven't been hungry at all for the past three days, but I do miss the spontaneity of eating whatever I want whenever I feel like it. 

Breakfast 6 c
-          ¼ cup oats 5 c
-          1 tsp honey 1 c

Lunch 74 c
-          Quiche 64 c
-          Cucumber + Capsicum + Tomatoes 10 c

I had to microwave the quiche at work so I put the veggies in separate little silicone muffin liners. All were from my garden (hence why the capsicum and cucumbers are so tiny - about the length of a finger), and each weighed only a few grams. 

Dinner $1.03
-          Potato Soufflé 44 c
-          Bolognaise 59 c

Today’s dinner was supposed to be a baked potato, but when I looked at the potatoes they were so little! So I decided to make the soufflés instead.

Potato Soufflé 87 c
Serves 2
-          2 potatoes 18 c
-          2 tbsp milk 5 c
-          2 eggs, separated 52 c
-          2 tbsp butter 7 c
-          Salt, pepper and 1 tsp chives, chopped finely 5 c

This is what 2 leaves of chives looks like...

All chopped up. Probably less than a teaspoon here.

Preheat oven to 220C. Grease two soufflé dishes with the butter (use sparingly!)
Roughly chop the potatoes and steam them until soft. Mash with  the remaining butter, chives and egg yolks until it is smooth. Add in the milk so the mixture is quite runny. Season with salt and pepper.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, like when you make meringues. 

Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites gently into the potato mixture, and then fold in the rest in thirds. Carefully pour into the soufflé dishes. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until soufflés have risen and are golden brown and firm to touch. 

Serve with bolognaise.

In the two minutes it took me to set this up, turn on my camera, etc... The souffle fell down :( See? It was still really yummy though. 

Bolognaise $2.38
Serves 4
-          4 sausages, squeezed out of skin $1.48
-          1 tin tomatoes 65 c
-          ¼ cup mixed veggies 20 c
-          ½ cup water
-          Salt, pepper and mixed herbs 5 c

Fry the sausage mince in a non –stick pan. Add the mixed veggies and stir to combine, then add in the tinned tomatoes and water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with mixed herbs.

Day 3
Oats 6 c
Lunch 74 c
Dinner $1.05
Tea 5 c

     = $1.90

xx gee

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Living Below the Line: Day 2

I think that we've been eating very, very well for only $2! 

Today's breakfast:
Oats with Honey and Cinnamon 

7 c
- 1/2 cup oats 5 c
- 1/2 cup water 
- 1 tsp honey 1 c
- pinch cinnamon 1c

For lunch, I made a very basic version of chawanmushi, a Japanese steamed egg custard dish that I love. Shu, my best friend from Malaysia, got me addicted at a young age. It's silky and light, and usually has seaweed, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms, gingko, that swirly pink thing often found in udon and ramen and prawns! Obviously I didn't have any of these things to use, so I used a sausage (squeezed out of its skin - it felt strange!) and the frozen mixed veggies. It was really yummy. I usually would strain the egg mixture to get rid of bubbles, which is why it isn't smooth at all, but I didn't want to waste anything. I would also usually use miso or dashi stock to make chawanmushi, but I just used water and some soy sauce today and it was still delicious.

51 c

$1.02 for 2 servings
- 2 eggs 52 c
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 sausage 37 c
- 1/6 cup mixed veggies 10 c
- Salt, pepper, soy sauce and a tiny piece of seaweed 3 c

Beat the eggs very well, until it is smooth and there are no.. lumps, for lack of a better word. I would usually strain it at this point. Mix the water with 1 tsp of soy sauce, and pour it in a very thin stream into the egg, whisking all the while. Season with salt and pepper. Strain again.
Squeeze out the sausage meat (or just use mince) and lightly fry. Pour the meat into a bowl/ramekin/whatever you would like to use - I usually do it in big tea cups. And then add the mixed veggies. Pour the egg mixture over it. If any bubbles appear, stab them with a toothpick until it's all smooth. (I omitted this step in this version) Top with seaweed and steam for 15 minutes or until the custard has just set. 

Pumpkin, Tuna and Rosemary Quiche
64 c

Pumpkin and tuna? Yes, an odd combination, I know, but I make a delicious tuna and leek quiche, and a delicious pumpkin and smoked salmon quiche. I had pumpkin and tuna, so why not combine them? And... it was so good! The lack of garlic/onions/cheese didn't make a difference at all! And we know I love my quiche! 

The rocket is from my garden! It has a lovely peppery taste to it. I'm so lucky to have such yummy things at my disposal!

$2.38 for 4 serves
- 200g tuna in brine, drained $1
- 100g pumpkin, sliced thinly 20c
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 53c
- 2 eggs 52c
- 1/4 cup milk 10c
- Salt, pepper, 1 sprig rosemary 3c
- Handful rocket 20c

Line a quiche pan with baking paper (so you don't have to grease it!) and then blind bake the puff pastry for 10 minutes at 180C. Beat the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tuna, pumpkin and rosemary in layers in the pastry shell, then pour the egg mixture on top of it.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until quiche has set and pastry is golden brown. 
Serve with rocket. 

We even had enough money for dessert today! Well, we did yesterday too, but I didn't think of it. The only time I've ever had rice pudding was once when Milo made it for me, and it wasn't very nice. I decided to make it today because I realized that we would have rice left over at the end of the week anyway, and I wanted to try it. The verdict is... I like rice pudding! Just not when Milo makes it ;)

Cinnamon Rice Pudding 
13 c 

29c for 2 servings
- 1/4 cup rice 6c
- 1/2 cup milk 20c
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp Cinnamon sugar 3c

Combine rice, milk, and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and heat. Keep stirring, adding more water as it absorbs, for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve.

So, today:
Oats 7c
Chawanmushi 51c
Quiche 64c
Rice Pudding 13c
Tea 5c (I reused my tea bag!)
One Orange 25c

       = $1.65

xx gee 

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